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All I want for Christmas…

Just how long does it take to calculate 10 weeks of retro pay?

I usually understand when it comes to the problems faced in processing payroll.  I did the job for more than 8 years and I know how difficult and exacting the job is.

However, I’m really puzzled by the amount of time it is taking to calculate 10 weeks of retro pay for county workers.  The Board of Supervisor’s approved a salary increase for County employees back in September, retroactive to the first paycheck in July.  The moderate salary increase first showed up on county worker’s paychecks on September 22nd, the pay period immediately following approval by the Board.  A pretty good turnaround time if you ask me.

Around October 12th county workers were told that the complicated calculations required to pay the retroactive portion of the salary increase would be completed by the December 1st pay check.  On November 9th the Auditor/Controller informed Human Resources that the retroactive pay would be issued on December 8th, and on a paper check instead of the usual direct deposit.

On Monday, the Orange County Employee’s Association was notified in a memo from the Auditor/Controller, that due to the complexity of the calculations involved, the retroactive pay would not be available on December 8th as promised; rather it is now projected for December 22, 2006.

It took them one pay cycle to implement the increase and three months to calculate 10 weeks of retro pay.  Is it just me or does this seem to be a bit ridiculous?

For the record, it is not Auditor/Controller or the line employees in his office to blame here.  We have idiots running the County, from the Board on down to senior management in the CEO’s office.  The complexity of the retroactive pay was due to the fact that CEO Thomas Mauk refused to negotiate on the issue of retiree medical costs along with the salary increase prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year; OCEA wanted to, he did not. He then, under Board direction, backed out of a negotiated pay raise that did not involve all of the complex calculations and then the Board imposed a new set of calculations in a take it or leave it offer.  The thousands, probably tens of thousands of dollars that have been spent on resolving this mess could have been avoided, if Mauk and the Board of Supervisor’s had done their jobs right in the first place.

Yes folks, this is your county government, run by Republicans, at work.

I wonder what they’ll waste money on next?  Maybe it will be a strategic planning process to revise the County mission statement; oh wait, they just did that.